Puceron a volonté – The all-you-can-eat aphid bar

DSC_0866From time to time we find someone who goes against the flow and it stands out pretty sharply. But when that little black sheep, or in this case, red coat, black spotted ladybird is the stand out, well it isn’t quite so obvious. When I linger in the pool, I have a lot of time to do nothing, to stare at the mountain ranges both east and west, to look at the grass that needs cutting, to skim the water or like yesterday, to spy a ladybird actually sitting on a rose for once (see A cultural misunderstanding). DSC_0837‘Well I’ll be darned’, I thought, scooping myself out of the swimming pool and puddling along the pathway to the house for my camera. Sitting beautifully in contrast upon a lovely creamy rose petal, the scene was positively adorable and I felt rather victorious! And then I was rewarded with an extra special treat. It was a ladybird with less ‘exotic’ tastes and was fast approaching, like a little dodge em car careening towards a green aphid! Finally a ladybird that was practising clean eating, choosing his aphid nature, plain flavoured, without a hint of hallucinogens!  But my joy for his lifestyle choice was short lived, as immediately a violent clash was on right before my eyes.DSC_0905 (2).JPG I don’t really know what I was expecting, but I felt quite disgusting to be witness to such a nasty battle in front of my lens. Up close to this tiny, yet somewhere now enormous, silent world that had lain at my feet every day, I witnessed an attack that truly made me queasy. I had, in theory wished for so long that the ladybirds would come along and eat my nasty, pesky little aphids but actually seeing it being done, well that seemed really heartless! The green semi transparent bug with very long fine legs thrashing, it fought very hard and the ladybird chomped away with that mandible looked positively menacing up close. Clutching with hooked claws, it was relishing gorging upon the aphid whilst it was still alive! DSC_0900 (3) My little cutie was a killing machine,  I felt like intervening!  Later on, with my photo magnified even closer upon my screen, my husband, in awe, remarked  ‘Ah ça pique! oh that stings’  his eyes alarmingly wide. A rather awful little peek into their world, I can’t believe it; first feeling sorry for my once nemesis and then photographing the ingestion of him!DSC_0914 (3)‘Looks like he’s using it’s leg as a toothpick!’ my husband laughed horrified and I sank back in my chair feeling utterly terrible. DSC_0918 (2)What have I become? I thought to myself, having gaped at the eating of an insect whilst alive. And now here I am, trying to assuage my guilty feelings and dragging you all into this too. My little friend is there on screen with aphid ‘juice’ smeared all over his face! I couldn’t possibly imagine having such a heartless fighter tootling along my hand right now.DSC_0942 (2)The little spotty ladybird hadn’t stopped at one, but happily scooted over for a slightly smaller aphid. I imagined it’s reasoning, ‘oh I couldn’t possibly, no I shouldn’t, ok, just a small one then’.  The little aphid, a more ferocious fighter than the last, he started scrambling over the face of the ladybird. When he flung himself in vain across it’s eye, it was at that moment that I decided to replaced my lens cap, and abandon my thoughts of returning to the pool and go inside. I am starting to feel a lot like becoming a vegetarian. But even the expression, ‘eat your greens’ is having an unsettling effect upon me now.DSC_0855.JPG